Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has called for active participation of women in political process in Nigeria.
The call was made, on Wednesday, during a two-day workshop organised for women, in Sokoto, to encourage their participation in politics ahead of the 2019 general elections.
The theme of the event was tagged: ‘Strengthening Women Political Participation in Nigeria’ and organised by USAID in collaboration with the International Republican Institute (IRI) and European Union (EU).
Speaking, the IRI Resident Programme Director-Somalia, Bojan Ristic in his opening remarks said the workshop is to provide an enabling platform for better synergy and exchange of opinions among participants through routine participation in politics at various levels across the state.
He also noted that such steps, if undertook by stakeholders would no doubt change the perspective of gender inequality in politics in Nigeria.
According to Ristic, “We want to change the narratives by enhancing women participation in politics and elective positions. We are embarking on a strategic frontier crusade to strengthen the participation of women in Nigeria’s politics.”
He said the USAID and other partners are read to assist democratic institutions to be better with women in active involvement through building their political aspirations.
“All these, would improve women participation by identifying the numerous obstacles and proffering solutions to further strengthen the scope of their active involvement in elective positions”, he noted.
Also, the EU Minister Councellor, Head of Politics, Press and Information, Pauline Torehall said women must see their political aspirations as an obligation with strong urgency to ensure equality in Nigeria’s political activities.
Torehall noted that Nigeria needed many more women in elective positions in governance, saying that” if truly you have to change the trend, you must be prime actors through strong awareness on gendre equality and human rights.
According to her, “Your voices need to be heard otherwise, your aspiration cannot be driven to success.”
In her remarks, the Special Adviser on Human Rights, NGOs and Donor Agencies to Sokoyo State Governor Dr. Hafsat Galadima, charged women in the state to key in the political process for their greatness and aspirations.
She noted that the state governor is committed for women involvement in active politics, citing the numerous opportunities and appointments given to women in his government.
She words, “History has projected women of great determination such Queen Elizabeth of England, Queen Amina of Zazzau among others. We in Sokoto have stepped up the drive to clinch elective positions as well be represented in the State Assembly.”
The Special Adviser however, commended IRI/EU for promoting gendre equality in the political process not only in Nigeria but globally noting that the international organs anchored by USAID had established its presence and operations across over 78 countries.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Women and Children Affairs, Hajia Kulu Abdullahi Sifawa, noted that women had over time suffered marginalisation in many respects, and urged them to curtail the issue of gender inequality especially in politics and elective positions.
Kulu, who was represented by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Hajiya Aishatu Dantsoho said the State government has supported women in the area of empowerment with 630 recently trained on skill acquisitions across the state.